Thursday, September 3, 2009

love, kung fu and the New York Times

I'm a romantic. I hate myself for it. Romantics, like optimists, are very susceptible to disappointment. We hope for the happy endings and root for the triumph of good over evil. It's really quite pathetic, yet I cannot seem to help myself. Originally I attributed it to my age as I read somewhere that men became more emotional in their advancing years, but in retrospect, I've always been a romantic. I blame the media. Movies, books, television, music, all shamelessly promote love in unrealistic ways even when they are lamenting its loss and subsequent pain. And I have been there every step of the way, taking it all in.

When Joni suggests we attend a romantic comedy for one of our movies of the week, I protest somewhat mildly, but am secretly reveling in the prospect of screening yet another variation of the boy meets girl (or these days it COULD be a boy meets boy or girl meets girl) storyline. Oddly, I also still revel in typical "guy" movie fare like a good old action movie with plenty of fight scenes. So when you present me with something like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" or "The House of Flying Daggers," well, as you can imagine, I am in movie heaven. I cannot fathom a higher art form than a love story within a Kung Fu movie.

I always begrudgingly watch these love stories unfold, but unfailingly succumb to the swelling orchestration in the background and emotion-packed climax as the two lovers finally proclaim their love for one another. (In college, I always waited for that music to commence whenever I was with my girl friends, but it never came . . . ). I recognize intellectually that the love on that screen is just as fabricated as the exploding car tumbling end over end in an action sequence, but somehow I still find myself BELIEVING in that moment. Well, if not believing in that moment, WANTING to believe in that moment. I suppose this is the true revelation of my older age: knowing the difference in believing and wanting to believe.

I have gained enough wisdom over the years to realize that love in real life is something that requires more effort and tolerance and forgiveness than anything portrayed in the movies. I have come to recognize that it is because of this that real love is more rewarding when its challenges are met and overcome. And like the ebb and flow of the ocean, it has its own rhythm.

Still, it's fun to engage in entertainment that dwells upon the conceit of love. Now that I have my iPod, I subscribe to the free daily feed provided by the NY Times. If you are like me and enjoy a good love story, I highly recommend a weekly visit to its illustrious wedding section. Contained therein are many modern day fairy tales written especially for us romantics. And just like in the movies, these stories always end with a happily ever after . . .

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